We love snowshoeing. Thanks to a wonderful surprise gift (and thanks to living up north), we’ve been able to really get into snowshoeing this year. We also got more snow this week, so we’ll probably be going at least once or twice more this year. Our three snowshoeing trips were all spectacular in their own way, so we wanted to show them side-by-side here. We also have received a special request from a good friend in China for more Canadian winter photos. Although I could take a few pictures outside of our house right now, but we thought that it’s probably a better idea to show off this country’s best side of the cold. In case anyone’s curious about the geographical locations of these treks, I stuck a Google map at the end of the post for reference.
Speaking of winter, this past week gave us a great example of why Calgary’s weather might be the strangest we’ve ever experienced. It seems everywhere we have lived people tell us, “If you don’t like the weather in [Utah, New England, Seattle, Idaho, etc.) just wait ten minutes!” Here that statement actually appears to be true. On Wednesday–the day I’m in class until 9pm of course–it was sunny and the temperature got up to +13 degrees celsius (55F). The very next morning it was snowing and -13 (8F). That’s a Chinook. Warm winds blow in temporarily from the coast to build you up and then break your heart.
Snowshoeing Trip One: Nickel Plate
This was a fun trip with my parents (this is MG) about 30 minutes west of my home town of Penticton, BC. We made a fun trip home for spring break a few weeks ago.
Snowshoeing Trip Two: Canyon Hot Springs
On our way home from Penticton, we stopped at Canyon Hot Springs (just east of Revelstoke, BC) and did a quick hike into the cedar forest there. This is a pretty wet part of the Rockies, so the snow was deep and heavy. We got tired out pretty fast, plus our rental car didn’t do extremely well in the snow, so we thought we better hit the road again quickly to make it home before dark.
Snowshoeing Part Three: Fish Creek Park
We got about a foot of snow about two weeks ago, so we wanted to take advantage of it quickly before it melted. We felt a little weird, but we got onto the C-train with our snowshoes and rode down to the south part of Calgary to take a hike before the snow melted. There were some paved trails in the park, and it was a pretty warm day by Calgarian winter standards (while we strapped on our snowshoes a jogger ran past us in short shorts and a tank top). The snow was sparse in some spots, but we still found plenty in the shaded creek bed. Another perk to living in Calgary: taking public transit to go snowshoeing within city limits.
And the map (my color coding didn’t work out, but the locations are posted in order from west to east):
Before we start talking about the new adventures we’ve had and will have this year, I just needed to share a couple from last fall that I’ve been meaning to write about.
The first (or maybe second) weekend after T arrived, we decided that we needed to go hiking. We still had a car, my semester was still relatively young, and the weather was good, so we made a last-minute trip to Banff. We’re very glad we did. The fall colours and the views were incredible. We had a nice hike up to Morraine Lake and then a steep climb to a pass overlooking Mt. Assiniboine (behind us in the 1st shot). We saw some more of the Rockies during a trip to BC last week, but that’s for another post. For now, here are the Canadian Rockies while they’re still fairly warm.
In October I got to take a road trip out to Regina, Saskatchewan. It’s a 7-8 hour drive east through some of the flattest land I know of (see the first photo below). But Regina wasn’t a bad place. I attended the wedding of one of my best friends, who I grew up with in Penticton. While I was there hanging out with his family and friends, I also got to see a few of Regina’s sights. I didn’t expect much from the city (it’s not exactly a top tourist stop and gets a bad rap from the rest of Canada), but I shouldn’t have been too surprised that I actually did find some cool places.
1. Flat, flat land. A few kilometers past the point where Regina’s skyline came into view we passed a sign that indicated the city limits were still something like 50 km away. I didn’t take a picture of that, sadly, but here’s a random shot of my view during the trip home.
2. Also on the way out, we passed this. We watched this helicopter picking up these towers, flying them to the right place, and sticking them right onto the foundation. If you were looking for a cool job, this would be it.
3. I went on a morning run past the capital building, which sits in a park beside this lake. The fog was a nice touch.
4. The wedding took place at the LDS Temple in south Regina. Luckily, the fog burned off before the wedding photos started.
5. After family photos at the temple, they took took some more shots outside an old government building, which happened to hold a small museum dedicated to Regina’s history of royal visits. The city has received a handful of visits from various members of the royal family (including the queen herself, who was welcomed by a pair of haystack tiki towers similar to the ones at the museum entrance below), which is probably fairly impressive for a small, cold city in the Canadian prairies.
We came back from Christmas in Idaho and actually found Calgary warmer than our last week down south. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. We got a foot of snow on Thursday and temperatures stopped to somewhere around -15 Celsius… plus the wind. Waiting for the bus outside the temple Thursday night (photo below) nearly froze us through. We actually chickened out after the bus was already 15 mins late due to the storm, and we went to thaw out in the temple entrance and beg for a ride to the closest train station. Thankfully people were feeling very charitable after spending time there and we found a ride quickly.
We really wanted to be able to have something to look forward to about the snow and cold, so we decided to give cross-country skiing a try. I had boots and skis but we rented stuff for T and poles for me from campus (I had a $25 credit so it ended up being free). A ski club maintains 7km of trails at s golf course right in the city, so we actually have a free place to go that’s only a 5 minute bus ride away from our house. It was a beautiful day for it today and we had fun. T caught on really fast and (hopefully) liked it enough to go with me again. Photos are all below.
In other news, we went to a sushi boat restaurant for my birthday dinner last night. Good times in the winter.
We had a month and a half of amazing fall weather here. Comfortable temperatures (15-ish Celsius/60-ish farenheit during the day), sunny skies, yellow leaves… But last week a transformation occurred. We got 10 cm of snow overnight, it hasn’t warmed up at all, and the clouds keep dropping a cm or two almost every day.
Winter seemed to officially start on the last day of the Calgary LDS Temple open house (last Saturday). We went with a couple of friends and ended up lining up outside the church in a blizzard. The temple open house and dedication were great experiences, by the way. Aside from going on tours with family and friends, T and I both got to help out with cleaning and other things this past week as we got the temple ready for the dedication. There’s a lot of energy and excitement in the LDS community and Calgary in general due to the temple. That was fun to be a part of. The photos below were taken with Theresa’s mom at the temple while the weather was still nice.
The temple, along with some great friends we’re making with neighbors and classmates, helped ease us into acceptance of our new home’s northern climate. Being from Penticton, BC, and Boise, ID, we’re used to some snow but definitely not this early. It also doesn’t usually stay for quite as long in our home towns, either. We’re looking forward to one of those mysterious “Chinooks” to blow in a give us a few hours of summer weather. I’ll believe when I experience it! In the meantime maybe we’ll find some snowshoes or cross-country skis so that we can look forward to the long winter.
In the spirit of these changing seasons, here are some photos from the past week in Calgary. Enjoy!
Below was Sunday morning (today) on our way to church. We had some pretty heavy fog over the past couple days. Yesterday we took a trip down to Southern Alberta for the wedding of an old mission friend of mine. The overcast skies and low fog made the prairies look lonely and remote, but empty and beautiful at the same time. T took some pictures on the trip that we might be able to post soon.
I took this picture on my way home from school on the day after our 10 cm snow day. I’m sure we’ll get much more than this, but I’m still amazed at how early it came. I think the trees are still in shock too. A lot of them hadn’t even finished shedding their leaves. Some were still green!
Looking cold on the way home from church today… but we loved that blue sky coming in!
Just some frosty berries this afternoon.
The Northern Lights on a cloudy night? I got very excited about this when I got off the bus coming home from campus a few nights ago. Unfortunately, I’m just an uneducated southern Canadian who can’t tell the difference between city lights reflecting off snow and low clouds vs. Aurora Borealis.
Maybe the following photos should be in a separate post, but I know that my sister (a profession meat expert) would like to see this contraption in action. Right after T moved in we found a $3 antique meat grinder at an estate sale. We were just talking about how a meat grinder would be awesome (I did most of the talking) before we stumbled onto this prize. It lets me control exactly what goes into my burgers, and we also found it helpful (sort of) in making hummus and hope to try it out making peanut butter. The beef that gets stuck inside just adds flavour. Only kidding… the grinder gets a thorough washing between uses. We’re a part-vegetarian family after all.
Cooking up a fresh-ground burger. Now all I need is to make friends with a few hunters… I know they’re around in these parts.
We’ve been here for over a month, so it’s about time to post something. Here are a few highlights from our new home town:
The view from our neighborhood (our house is the red one at the bottom). Calgary has great sunsets and great clouds.
A trail through the Northwest. The new Calgary temple is up the hill in the distance.
Fall colours. We went for a Sunday afternoon walk along the elbow river here.
Devonian Gardens with family on Thanksgiving Day. This is a place Calgarians head to when winter gets too cold. It’s above an overpriced mall downtown, but the gardens are actually pretty nice.
Sisters-in-law at Prince’s Island Park downtown on Thanksgiving Day. It’s nice being a little closer to family now. Boston was a bit harder for folks to visit. You missed out, though!
A Calgary-themed swing set with my dad and my sister on Thanksgiving.
Center Street Bridge downtown at the end of a bike date to Chinatown and the old Financial District. Buffalo are everywhere! At least in art. I haven’t seen a live one here yet, but did see a herd of antelope on the way back from Saskatchewan today. That trip is for another post, though.
I hope you guessed as much, but someone hacked our account today and posted a spam ad. I hope nobody clicked on it. Believe me, I didn’t make $250/hr for doing nothing and neither will you.
We’ll post something real very soon. In the meantime we’re changing our password and security so I hope it doesn’t happen again. Sorry!
We took a trip to Quebec back in July. Day 1 was a bike tour on the Richelieu river, just east of the Lawrence. Picturesque countryside, churches, and farms. We were pedaling on the hottest day of the year. The ride was broken up by several small towns and crossing the river twice on a little ferry, just big enough for 1 or 2 cars.